Long-service awards – against the Equality Act 2010?

It should be known that long-service awards are not necessarily incompatible with the age discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010 which in this example, seeks to ensure that employees are not treated less favourably on the grounds of age. Long-service awards such as additional holiday or pay are allowed, provided that they are awarded on the basis of service of five years or less. If this is the case, no further justification is required.

In addition, there is a general exception for all other service-related benefits, provided that it reasonably appears to the employer that using length of service fulfils a business need, for example by encouraging loyalty or motivation of its workers. In order to meet these requirements, the employer would need evidence from which it can conclude that there is a benefit to the business. This could include information gathered through something like staff engagement surveys.

Undoubtedly, service awards can help to make staff feel valued and rewarded for their continuous service and can help to make an overall remuneration and benefits package look more enticing. 121 HR Solutions can support employers wishing to consider the competitiveness of their remuneration and benefits. Call 0800 9995 121 to discuss further.

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